Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 29, 2005

Welcome, Visitor 10,000!

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:25 pm

Welcome to whoever (from uu.net) just made the 10,000th visit to this blog.

For purists: That’s the 10,000th visit, not the 10,000th visitor. The true number of visitors is much lower, since many people make multiple visits. (On the other hand, if anybody’s reading via RSS, they don’t get counted by SiteMeter.)

For real purists: It’s also not the 10,000th page view. If you visit different pages on this blog but never separate two page view by more than 30 minutes, that counts as a single “visit.”

Thanks to all of you. I find the fact that you find my writing worth the trouble to read extremely gratifying.

(Side note: Traffic has surged in the past two weeks, probably due to the interest in Terri Schiavo. To answer your next question: Yes, I’d gladly give up all the traffic to see her fed.)

Jesse Jackson Tries to Visit Terri Schiavo

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:56 pm

Story here.

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) — The Reverend Jesse Jackson says Terri Schiavo’s case “transcends politics and family disputes.”

He’s been visiting the Florida hospice where the severely brain-damaged woman has gone without nutrients or water since March 18th.

Jackson calls her treatment an “injustice” and says denying her a feeding tube and water is “unnecessary.”

Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, invited the civil rights leader after he issued a statement last week calling for the woman’s feeding tube to be reconnected.

Some demonstrators applauded Jackson when he arrived and shouted, “This is about civil rights.”

Schiavo’s family is still urging President Bush, Congress and Florida Governor Jeb Bush to intervene.

Any chance this will end the claims that the support for saving Terri is all about right-wing politics?

UPDATE: Turns out Rev. Jackson was denied permission to visit. From this other story:

Jackson said he asked Michael Schiavo for permission to see the brain-damaged woman but was denied.

(Blog entry title updated to reflect this.)

CBS releases Terri’s obituary — in advance

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:53 pm

CBS, previously known for releasing forged memos purporting to related to President Bush’s military service, released an obituary for Terri Schiavo even though she is, at this writing, still alive. Actually, they released it yesterday. They pulled it off their web site, but not before Glenn Beck got a copy. (Non-PDF copy here.) Everything is filled in except the date, which is written as “March TK, 2005.”

Now, prewritted obituaries are nothing new — newspapers are reputed to keep “current” obituaries on famouse people currently in perfect health — but there is something different about this one — it contains an account of Terri’s “death,” including the “fact” that Michael was at her bedsite, and his alleged immediate post-death comments to Larry King.

Michael Schiavo, who was at the bedside of his wife Terri when she died, told Larry King that he lives now with another woman with whom he has two children.

“I can love more than one person,” he told King. “Everybody can do that.”

According to friends and relatives, Michael Schiavo was Terri’s only love. His big-but-tight-knit family took in Michael’s bride, and she befriended his siblings, including his brother, Scott.

Keep in mind that this story was released on the CBS website on Monday, March 28, and that Terri is still alive as of Tuesday, March 29 (12:50pm). CBS is clearly making stuff up. But they’ve been doing that for years.

Autopsy OK

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:58 am

As far as I know, Terri Schiavo is still alive, but there is this bit of news:

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (Reuters) – The husband of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo has ordered an autopsy after she dies to silence allegations his plan to cremate her body is aimed at hiding something, his lawyer said on Monday.

A future Harvard student who got his tube back

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:51 am

From The Crimson, Harvard University’s student paper, comes this fascinating story by Joe Ford, a Harvard student:

The case of Terri Schiavo has been framed by the media as the battle between the “right to die” and pro-life groups, with the latter often referred to as “right-wing Christians.” Little attention has been paid to the more than twenty major disability rights organizations firmly supporting Schiavo’s right to nutrition and hydration.

The reason for this public support of removal from ordinary sustenance, I believe, is not that most people understand or care about Terri Schiavo. Like many others with disabilities, I believe that the American public, to one degree or another, holds that disabled people are better off dead. To put it in a simpler way, many Americans are bigots. …

Our country has learned that we cannot judge people on the basis of minority status, but for some reason we have not erased our prejudice against disability. One insidious form of this bias is to distinguish cognitively disabled persons from persons whose disabilities are “just” physical. Cognitively disabled people are shown a manifest lack of respect in daily life, as well. This has gotten so perturbing to me that when I fly, I try to wear my Harvard t-shirt so I can “pass” as a person without cognitive disability. (I have severe cerebral palsy, the result of being deprived of oxygen at birth. While some people with cerebral palsy do have cognitive disability, my articulation difference and atypical muscle tone are automatically associated with cognitive disability in the minds of some people.)

The result of this disrespect is the devaluation of lives of people like Terri Schiavo. In the Schiavo case and others like it, non-disabled decision makers assert that the disabled person should die because he or she—ordinarily a person who had little or no experience with disability before acquiring one—“would not want to live like this.” In the Schiavo case, the family is forced to argue that Terri should be kept alive because she might “get better”—that is, might be able to regain or to communicate her cognitive processes. The mere assertion that disability (particularly cognitive disability, sometimes called “mental retardation”) is present seems to provide ample proof that death is desirable.

Essentially, then, we have arrived at the point where we starve people to death because he or she cannot communicate their experiences to us. What is this but sheer egotism? Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, this is obviously an attempt to play God.

Besides being disabled, Schiavo and I have something important in common, that is, someone attempted to terminate my life by removing my endotracheal tube during resuscitation in my first hour of life. This was a quality-of-life decision: I was simply taking too long to breathe on my own, and the person who pulled the tube believed I would be severely disabled if I lived, since lack of oxygen causes cerebral palsy. (I was saved by my family doctor inserting another tube as quickly as possible.) The point of this is not that I ended up at Harvard and Schiavo did not, as some people would undoubtedly conclude. The point is that society already believes to some degree that it is acceptable to murder disabled people.

There is some more information about Joe Ford here.

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